Checking The Compass and Discovering God’s Will

We tend to think of God’s will as an elusive stepping stone out there somewhere that we cannot see and information of how to discover it is being withheld from us. We fear that we are going miss it and sink.  The goal of this message is to embrace that living Beyond Me and discovering a life of purpose is a lifelong journey but very achievable.

Thank you for watching.

Beyond Me: The Compass from Cove Church on Vimeo.

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I’m Losing It

Highway-Signs-Confused-Concept

One day last week Brittany, the kids, and I were out spending the day together. I was driving as I normally do. That’s what manly men do right? They do the driving. It’s a given norm to our society. It’s not manly to let the female drive, right? Well, she drives on long trips because she loves to drive and I cant stand driving more than 23 minutes straight. Ok, I’m getting off task. It’s the A.D.D. in me I suppose hence the reason I don’t like to drive more than 23 minutes. Ok, back to the story.

I noticed Brittany kindly letting me know where parking spots were, letting me know about on coming traffic, when the light was green, and to not look at my phone while driving. Finally, I stopped, and abruptly said, “Who’s driving?” We just giggled and enjoyed our day but I may just have to look into having a new law passed and provide her with the first Back Seat Drivers License.

You see, I drive everywhere, every day of my life. Even when we are together as a family, I do most of the driving. But on this fine day, I noticed I couldn’t “just drive.” I had a beautiful assistant looking around for me, looking both ways for me, telling me when to stop, telling me I was going too fast, and “helping” me know when the light was green, all while she would hit the fake brake on her side, clinch the door and create a body language that communicated she was in the passenger seat with a Nascar driver. My wife is honestly a good driver but I have gotten so accustomed to driving that I ultimately had a very difficult time adhering to the support I was being offered.

It’s the same way in our daily lives isn’t it? We have gotten so accustomed to our routines, live in a society that caters to self, have built a culture of self-sufficiency, that it has created an obligation for control. Now in normal daily life, this is acceptable as it helps develop responsibility and commitment. However, it has created an ugly mammoth problem in the greatest aspect of our lives. Spiritually, we limit the power of God and settle in our faith because we feel the need to control so many aspects of our lives instead of surrendering them to the One who can do far more than us anyway.

We feel we must make things happen, make things work, fix problems, and have control over situations. This one is a difficult one for me because I tend to be a control freak. I have had to learn the hard way to render control to people who can perform the task better than I can. We see the need for control damages marriages, business relationships, ministries, and ultimately the Christian believers life in general.

Why is this the case? FEAR

We fear the unknown. We battle with what the outcome of a situation will look like if we don’t try to control it. We are afraid of what doors may open in the situation if we don’t steer it the way we think it needs to go.

What does this fear cause? SETTLING

When we don’t relinquish control into the hands of the King of Kings, it causes us to settle in our faith and miss the great opportunities He has designed for us. We don’t allow the Holy Spirit to do what only He can because we take the driver seat away from Him.

How can we squelch fear and stop the settling? Lose Control!

How To Lose Control

  1. Faith Feature!

Increase our faith! Faith is not just trusting in the Father but trusting in what you do not see.

In Acts 1:6-8 we see the disciples eager to know what Jesus has never told them and then we see a significant answer that not only applies to impacting the world but also impacting our personal lives so we can impact the world.

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

While the disciples had good intentions, this was forbidden knowledge for them to have because faith was needed. If he provided them with the knowledge right away, it would not require them to have faith.

  1. Create Courage

Increase our courage. Jesus provided the disciples with the training they needed for the journey ahead before He was crucified as well as after His resurrection. Now it was time for Jesus to return to the right hand of the Father and for the disciples to apply that training.

You see, God has provided us with the training and strength to be able to operate in any journey we have ahead of us. We don’t need to apply more to the journey in order to control it to align with what we believe the outcome should. Instead, we trust the Lord as we take the steps ahead of us and have the faith that in the unknown, He will carry out a much greater will than our own.

  1. Freedom Forever

Increase our freedom. Instead of living in bondage to the need for control in our lives, God desires for us to experience freedom. We only do that that when we lose control. Your life will be much less stressful because you are genuinely trusting the Lord. Your life will be more simplistic because you don’t have to know what is going to happen before it happens. You take the pressure off of yourself and place it in the Hands of the One who can and will take care of it.

When we learn to lose control, our relational vision, marital vision, leadership vision, ministry vision, and life vision will be greatly increased and focused.

Have a great day as you begin losing it!

Superman and a Prince

 

superdad

Several years ago, my wife, son, and I were driving down the road headed to church. I looked at Eli in the rearview mirror and made a funny face. My little mini me was only four at the time. Eli looked back at me through the mirror, got a big smile on his face and said, “Daddy, you’re my Superman. You can do anything.”

I about had a head on collision due to the inability to see because of the tears in my eyes. Pride flowed heavy from my soul that day.

Moving forward to my daughter who is now five years old. In these first precious years with my beautiful little girl, we have what we call, “The Princess Chair.” It’s where she lays in my lap with my arms wrapped around her, her head up to mine and whisper, “No matter what, you’ll always be daddy’s little princess.” She grins as wide as the Grand Canyon, nuzzles her head in my chest, and we snuggle for a moment.

Two years ago she began saying something that has me absolutely wrapped around her little pinky. Multiple times a days she now says, “Daddy you are my prince and I will never leave you.”

Now, I’m not about to correct her and say, “No, baby girl, you’re my daughter so that makes me your King.” She can think prince until she is at least 37 years old. Because we dads all know that when 37 hits and another man (prince) comes into her life, he will have to go through the most ferocious trial by fire before I let my little girl out of the Princess Chair.

I pray that I can always be the dad that God desires me to be. My kids and I have a fantastic relationship for which I am super thankful. One element that has created this blessed bond with my children is because of the investment into their lives immediately after birth and on a daily basis. God gets all the glory. While my bride, Brittany, is a rock star mom, I don’t believe that mommy is to raise the children while daddy just brings in the dough and picks up later in life like we often see in our country.

The words I am going to communicate could sting for some that are reading. My intent is not to come across judgmental in any way, but instead to inspire a generation of Fathers to have a raised awareness to this statement:

“Your greatest legacy will not be in your career or hobby, but instead will be the one you leave under your roof.”

Raising, training, investing, and making your child a priority begins at conception.

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Ephesians 6:4, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

My heart breaks for the mass absence of fathers in our community, country, and world. Through 18 years of Student Ministry, I have spoken with hundreds of teenagers struggling with the flood of emotions that come from dad not being involved in their lives.

Some of the issues I’ve dealt with over the years are:

  1. Young ladies filling the void of the absence father with the need to always have a boyfriend around their arm and the sexual consequences as a result.
  2. Young ladies continuing to be with guys who treat them badly because they can’t truly grasp that they were created to be honored, valued, loved, and respected. Thus experiencing consequences of dad not being in the home to express these significant aspects to her.
  3. Young ladies with self inflicting pain issues like cutting as well as self image issues such as eating disorders all with the main culprit being dads not being around to bring her the relationship she needs that conveys the message of how precious she is just the way she was created.
  4. Numerous young men sharing that their dads never make time for them and how they cry themselves to sleep over it.
  5. Countless other issues with drinking problems, drug use, sexual abuse, confused identities, emotional distress, uncooperative kids, violence, and underachieving.

The issues are ongoing and many readers will be able to relate in some way.

What is unfortunate is that we are also dealing with dads that are right there in the home, but are not involved in their child’s life.

One 17 yr old girl who also has a 15 yr old sister once told me, “Our dad makes no time for us. I just want to hang out with him. Anytime we ask him to do anything he says he is too busy and gives us money. I don’t want his money…I want him.  My little sister cries almost every day about something related to him.  Have we been that bad that he doesn’t want to spend time with us?” 

When I think about the masses of children in our area alone that I have had contact with without fathers in their lives, it can be mind boggling. So what about nationwide? According to the U.S Census Bureau’s Family and Living Arrangements reports, there are approximately 24 million children in single parent homes. Not all are without fathers in their lives, but what recent reports are showing is that approximately 2 out of every 5 children are now going to bed without a father in their life.

I strongly believe that growing up without a father consistently involved in their children lives is one of if not the main root causes of the social dilemma our country is experiencing.

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.  (U.S. D.H.H.S. Bureau of the Census)
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. (Center for Disease Control)
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. (Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14 p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools)
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report.)
  • The growing divorce rate magnifies the trend of fatherless families. About 40% of kids whose parents are divorced have not seen their father in at least a year. Ten years after divorce, more than two-thirds of those living with their mother haven’t seen their father for a year.

We see the evidence all across the country.  Boys and Girls with consistently active dads are more ambitious, more successful in school, attend college more often, and are more likely to attain careers of their own. They are less dependent, more self-protective, and less likely to get into harmful relationships.

Now, I realize that not all dads not involved in their kid’s lives are neglectful, but instead have rare circumstances causing him not to be able to be in the picture. I also realize there are many neglectful mothers. That is not my focus today, instead my focus is on the child hurting and crying out in negative ways due to the void of a father in their lives.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

While in my outrage emotional state, I almost wish there were laws that gave strict consequences for parents checking out on their kids. In my protective emotional state, I want to personally go to each one and ring their necks. In my Dream Big emotional state, I want to create a nation-wide program to help the prodigal father.

In all reality, right now I am in an extremely burdened spiritual state that turns my attention towards the victims. While it would be great to help the fathers come back to their responsibility as a parent, I believe the greater need is with those kids and single mothers. Let’s not lose hope in those fathers and continue to love them as Jesus does.

So what can each of us do today and every day?

PRAY:

a. As God burdens our hearts for these children, may we find time to fall on our knees asking God to wrap his loving arms of security, protection, and provision over them. Ask for our hearts to be sensitive to the Lord to discover way ways that our families can help these young men and young ladies.

PROVIDE:

a. Seek for people in the church and community whom can to connect with these young people to provide spiritual and life training and encouragement. It is vital for the young boys and girls to be connected with a same gender mentor who can teach them value, significance and what a Godly young person looks like.

b. For the single mother, may we as a church be available to provide love, resources, encouragement, assistance, and help.

c. For the step-dad may we encourage him in his role and help raise his awareness to the great responsibility that God now has him in. Help him understand the emotions and actions that could potentially be displayed by his new step-children.

d. Student Ministries: Take the time, investment, recruitment, and training to provide a safe haven for these students. Be proactive in connecting them with mentors that will check on them, hang out with them, and be available. Be constant and consistent for them. Be proactive in communicating how much God loves and values them.

PROACTIVE:

It is my prayer that this blog would spur you on to be a part of the solution and just be frustrated with the facts. I pray you will be compelled to be proactive in helping provide solutions for this global tragedy.

SPECIAL NOTE TO DADS EXPERIENCING THIS STRUGGLE:

If you’re a father reading this that hasn’t been involved in your child’s life, you can make things right. I believe in you and know you can overcome the obstacles you’ve encountered.  Not alone, but with the Lords help.  Take a moment to just try, humble yourself, and understand the chaos this has caused your child. Take all the steps you can to express your love to them and ask for their forgiveness. Please don’t fall into the temptation of getting angry or frustrated when they don’t want anything to do with you as you make these attempts. Realize that it will take time and may never be what you desire it to be. Be responsible for you only, man up, and do the right thing. Work on you and get you right. Get plugged into a church that can help you get your life on the right track and make the transition to doing what is Biblically right as a father.

ENCOURAGING NOTE TO ACTIVE DADS:

Those of you fathers connected with your children, involved in their lives and doing your best to disciple your child…thank you! Your investment into your child’s life is priceless. God Bless you and I pray you continue to seek the Lords direction for your family.

 

There are many more statistics, problems, results, and help that could be written about and there are thousands of others books articles, and blogs that help with this as well.   My greatest desire in writing this is to ask you to pray fervently with me for these young people negatively influenced and to strive to be a part of the solution. God Bless you and thank you!